WebAIM - Web Accessibility In Mind

E-mail List Archives

Re: Access keys


From: Moore, Michael
Date: Jun 25, 2007 7:30AM

At 3:14 PM -0700 6/24/07, John Foliot - Stanford Online Accessibility
Program wrote:
>If you really must include accesskeys on your site, a number of
>user-controllable solutions have emerged, my favorite being the one
>developed by Gez Lemon: User-Defined Access Keys -

Tedd's Reply:

While the last link is interesting (Gez Lemon), it seems a bit on an
overkill for accessibility -- how many users are going to take the time
to set-up access keys for a single site?

Mike's Opinion:

Access keys can be very beneficial to people with physical disabilities
and to improving efficiency in web applications that are used regularly.
Although in general, I feel that access keys are evil, I have seen their
usefulness in specific situations where users work with an application
regularly. Perhaps in those rare situations a set of quote "default"
access keys with a very simple method to allow the user to either
disable the access keys or to reconfigure the keys to work better for
their personal use would be the best compromise. In the case of a web
app that is used regularly the time taken to set up the access keys
would be worthwhile.


Too bad an universal cookie could not be set-up to carry the user's
defaults across different web sites that are compliant to the technique.
Something like a client-side sniffer that would detect if the technique
was present on the newly accessed site and then initialize a procedure
to provide cookie data to it.

Mike's Opinion:

Considering that the majority of sites being constructed don't even
comply with the most basic elements of web standards, (proper use of
headings for example) I don't think we would ever see standard use of
access keys and cookies to control them. Not to mention the debate over
what that may be. However, using a cookie, and a standard method of
implementing access keys across an intranet, including related web
applications, could be achievable over time and would be worth looking

Michael Moore
Accessibility Specialist
Texas Department of Assistive
and Rehabilitative Services

"If you don't have time to do it right,
when will you have time to fix it?"